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Last Minute Red Lasagna

I've used all of the following noodles at one point or another with this recipe: fresh egg pasta, fresh spinach pasta, fresh whole wheat pasta, and dried, no-boil whole wheat pasta (something like this). All work great! Also, I often make a vegan version where I skip the mozzarella altogether. Instead, thin out some tahini with warm water, season with salt, and garlic paste - use that as a creamy finishing drizzle. If you like a cheesier lasagna, you can certainly add some ricotta in alternating layers! This is super easy to adapt.

Ingredients

  • 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine grain salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • lemon zest
  • 12 ounces fresh pasta sheets, cut into lasagna strips OR
  • 9 ounces dried whole wheat no-boil lasagna sheets
  • 1 cup cooked red lentils or cannellini beans
  • 1/4 cup chopped olives (optional)
  • 4 ounces mozzarella cheese, torn

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400F with a rack in top third.

Assemble the Lasagna

  1. To assemble the lasagna combine the tomatoes, olive oil, salt, garlic, and red pepper flakes in a bowl and give a good stir. 

  2. Spoon 3/4 cup of the sauce into the bottom of a 8 x 12-inch (or larger) oven-proof baking dish. Sprinkle generously with lemon zest, and cover with a layer of pasta, giving the pasta strips a quick dunk in cold water before using - (please see note below if using no-boil noodles*). 

  3. Spoon another thin layer of tomato sauce, sprinkle with a few tablespoons of the lentils, the olives (if using), and cover with another layer of pasta. Repeat with more layers ending with a generous amount of tomato sauce on top. Finish with the mozzarella cheese on top (or see headnotes for vegan version). 

Bake

  1. Bake for thirty minutes, or until the cheese gets nicely golden.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Serves 6

Notes

*If using no-boil noodles, there's no need to dunk in water before assembling. Also, please cover the lasagna with foil and bake until pasta is tender - 30-35 minutes.

** Variation: Stir 1 1/2 teaspoons of your favorite curry powder and juice of 1/2 an orange into the tomato sauce.